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Kashmir: Agricultural and Land Use Policies – OpEd

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The agricultural sector of J&K has an inherent strength which needs to be exploited. the state of J&K comprises of three agro- regions viz,Kashmir being temperate, Jammu sub tropical and Ladakh desert type(dry and cold).Different crops are grown in different regions.

It is the Horticultural produce where we are having surplus production. We are short of food grains, pluses. Oil seeds ,mutton, poultry and poultry products, huge quantity of these products are being imported across the country.

It is irony to note, that number of pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals are being used by farmers, which do not have any efficacy to control the diseases, there is no control over sales and imports.

It has been observed that spurious chemicals are pumped into state, with the result huge quantity of crops is spoiled, enforcement agency should be meant to curb the menace of import of these spurious pesticides and fungicides.

Sufficient stock of quality fertilizers need to be stored before onset of sowing season and some new brands of mixed fertilizers supplied to the market need to authenticate by research institutions of the state with regard to their suitability to our soil conditions.

The agricultural sector of the state is also facing soil health problems, fertility of the soil is also matter of concern, which requires special attention.

In both cases viz, fertilizers fungicides and insecticides, it needs to be ensured that pre-tested agri- inputs needs to be provided to farmers in time which will help for better production. Policy planner and politician have never thought in greater perspective, only short term and self interested measures have been taken in to view from time to time which lead us no-where.

Double cropping in the state has remained a distant dream even if there are two Agricultural universities conferring degrees and diplomas in various disciplines of agriculture technology cannot solve our basic need (food).

The people of the state can progress if clear land-use policy is adopted by the state. Presently the political and administrative set up seems in a deep slumber ignoring the future generation’s sustenance. Prime agricultural land has been turned into jungles of concrete and brick kilns etc. In developed countries green belts are preserved in such a manner that no construction is allowed on agricultural land, with the result environmental pollution has been checked on one hand and the land security has been assured on the other.

Land grabbers are poaching on every available spaces by which land rates are sky rocketing and even poor masses are craving for piece of land to raise a shanty. Large section of people are lured by land grabbers to sell the agricultural land in to earn quick bucks ignoring the primary need(food).

This pathetic situation will definitely lead to employment crisis and also will mar the agricultural production. The government should think seriously and should create interest among the youth’s towards agriculture sector by opening the agri- clinics, e-shoping out and agri-business. There should also be adequate budgetary allocation for this purpose. Govt should take steps to bring state and farmers out of these challenges posed by the era of competition. If we will have to take the state out of these problems, we will; have to increase our agricultural growth and also have to ameliorate the conditions of our farmers.

Policy makers need to think afresh and restrict constructions, development of colonies on prime agricultural land otherwise the future of the state will be jeopardy.

Construction of residential houses should be limited to unproductive/less productive land and state should make laws for construction of multi-storied apartments accommodating 30-40 families which will reduce the pressure on the land that is already scare. We have so many “Kerwas” which can feed millions of people. People urge Govt to execute open plans of land/Agricultural policies to save generations.



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Farooq Wani

Farooq Wani is a Kashmir senior journalist, columnist and political commentator.

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